Morality: A code of behavior or the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good or right and those that are bad.


Morality: The fear of being punished for committing an act that is generally agreed upon to be unacceptable by a particular society or group of persons.

We obey moral structure within our tribal parameters because at some point, we learned that disobeying the moral structure came at a cost of freedom, physical well being, or our social standing. Law (formal or informal) is the code of behavior. Morality is the fear of the consequences of challenging that law.

No one voluntarily follows the rules. They don't choose to be moral because they believe peace, order, and justice to be the right path. They follow the rules because they are afraid of what might happen if they don't. Any rule they can get away with breaking, they will break at some point. Only the truest of enlightened beings will recognize this behavior. And not by default. It takes a lot of inner examination to come to this conclusion. And almost no one ever takes the time to examine the WHYs. WHYs are too hard. Especially when the HOWs--the conditioning--is all you need.

You have been conditioned to think that you would never murder someone because it is "morally reprehensible," but the truth is, that disgusted feeling you get in the pit of your stomach doesn't come from your abhorrence to the idea of murder. In fact, many people are fascinated with the concept of murder. Next to love, it's the favorite theme in the majority of our books, plays, and TV programming. That disgusted feeling you get in the pit of your stomach is you thinking about the punishment that has been repeatedly associated with the act of murder. An unconscious form of empathy shared with the murderer for what they have done. Perhaps even a little sorrow, regret, or uneasiness about the poor victim who you, through mental proxy, murdered.

Had murder not been made a punishable offense, and that standard not drummed into you since the day you were old enough to comprehend it, where would that disturbance over the act of murder come from?

In the end, the morality you have been conditioned with, for good or bad, is not your doing. Individuals never choose their own morals. The society in which they live chooses for them. At some point, as humans began to congregate into larger and larger extended families, their leadership decided that boundaries had to be drawn in order to better define what was acceptable behavior and what was not--most likely in response to someone behaving badly. Otherwise, the entire society threatened to break down into a system to chaos.

Therefore, ones moral code is totally dependent on the moral standards of the people with whom you have formed social bonds, voluntarily or involuntarily, be it government, or tribe, or family, or friends. It is not the product of your own personal philosophy, which in and of itself is also mostly borrowed from the education and ideas you received from your elders. You retained those ideas from those whom you admired, adding only a little here and there for your own personal flavor of individuality.

This is what allows for the varying degrees of severity certain acts are attributed as one goes from one group's moral construct to another. What's unacceptable HERE, may be totally acceptable THERE. Where this act is only a little bit offensive to THOSE PEOPLE, it carries a far greater stigma for those OTHER PEOPLE.

It's also why there is no such thing as an inherent morality in the individual or a form of morality that is universal amongst all people. Just as there is no art, or history, or language that is common amongst all people. Such ideas are fallacies. When one considers morality, it should be listed in the same criteria as science and philosophy, not personal choice. You yourself created none of these.

What is common, however, is that no matter what kind of society of human beings you live in, no matter what geology or ethnic background, at some point, someone thought of some good morals they thought they should have. And the majority of them agreed... Or were forced to. Either way, they stuck.